BEE-LIEVE - empowering beekeepers in Ethiopia
Beekeepers Economic Empowerment through long-Term Investments in Entrepreneurship and Value chain in Ethiopia (BEE-LIEVE)
BEE-LIEVE works with smallholder beekeepers, particularly women and landless youths, to boost honey production and expand market base by improving access to key inputs, finance and market. It focuses on improving the technical, business and entrepreneurial skills of small producers and other value chain actors and supporters.
Beekeepers, Self Help Groups, primary cooperatives, union input suppliers, extension service providers, Honey SMEs and buyers (collectors, retailers, wholesalers, processors, exporters), research and technology institutions, government institutions at all levels are engaged along the value chain. The project focuses on initiating and establishing public-private partnership dialogue and improving the value chain’s governance ensuring a win-win relationship among key actors. It is a project that aims at enhancing smallholder farmers' income generation capabilities through diversification into apiary and converting a difficult and rugged terrain into economically viable land. In such rugged terrain with relatively harsh weather, bee-keeping is a well suited production system compared to crop production that exacerbates the degradation of an already degraded landscape.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to reducing poverty among poor and vulnerable people in Ethiopia through an inclusive and sustainable honey value chain development. Increasing and diversifying income and reducing poverty in the rural community, mainly women and landless youth is a priority which is also part of the government plan in Tigray. The project aimed at
- Strengthening productive capacity (organisations, production, productivity and quality) of small scale honey producers in Tigray Region
- Improve access to markets and their benefits for small-scale honey producers, traders and processors, and their organisations in Tigray Region
- Improve governance of honey value chain in Tigray Region benefiting all actors in the chain and
- Enhance knowledge management increases benefits from honey value chain.
- In the first 2 years of the project 9 000 beneficiaries have been selected selected, 7 752 (3 102 women) were trained in modern beekeeping, 8 137 (3 536 women) were trained on business skills and 4 678 (1 865 women) got finance access to buy beehives and colonies to start beekeeping business.
- Average annual income of beekeepers reached ETB 12 377 from a baseline income of ETB 6 878.
- Women’s involvement in beekeeping grew to 35% of the sector from a baseline of 16%.
- 42% of honey producers are organised into producer groups whereas the baseline value was 15%.
- Volume of honey produced per beekeeper grew from 34 Kg to 43 Kg now. This brought an additional farm income of ETB 2 700 (9kg x ETB 300/kg).
- Women engagement in beekeeping is growing.
- Increased income from honey motivated spending on health, education and food purchases and encouraged loan repayment, house construction, and purchase of beekeeping equipment and livelihoods diversification through poultry activity and petty trade.
- The long-term impact of beekeeping on environmental rehabilitation is being observed as beekeeping is motivating conservation of the available vegetation and planting of new bee-forage species. Furthermore, a shift from land degrading crop production systems with less economic return, to environmental protecting and more return bearing apiary system is emerging.
- Job creation role of beekeeping in rural Tigray cannot be undermined. Agriculturally productive land is in short supply in Tigray Eastern zone, a better way to engage landless youth, women and returnees in economic activities is beekeeping and that is being witnessed.